Sunday, February 14, 2016

Becoming Myself



In late 2014, I began a yearlong self portrait project in which I paid tribute to some favorite artists by reinventing, one might say, appropriating, their subjects. It was a challenging journey that lasted twelve months and quite simply changed the way I think of myself as a photographer and a woman. Readers of my postings during that period will know it was not an easy time for me in any area of my life. Early reports of this new year notwithstanding, 2016 is now looking a lot better, in more ways than one. By the way, if you have any issues with seeing more of me than you counted on, consider yourself duly warned and scroll no further. 


I admit, my recent daringly honest self-portraiture has not been a purely aesthetic experiment. Loneliness, uncertainty, and the too often self-eclipsing effects of too much social media immersion played a large part in my making use of myself as a subject and an object and sharing the results with an audience I wasn’t even sure existed, much less had any interest in my activities or appearance. Going nude on the internet had very little to do with courage or vanity and very much to do with the two pronged defense of 1) having run out of fucks to give and 2) being pretty certain no one was paying attention anyway. 


Long story short, one year and change (and I mean that in more ways than one) later, the project is complete, my facebook account is deleted, I have even less to prove, an even smaller less certain audience, and now find myself missing my monthly shoots. Lacking (and no longer desiring) a specific artistic source to emulate, I went for one of the oldest prompts in the book: a prop shoot. Oh look, there’s my blanket and some nice sunlight conveniently filtering through a curtain onto my bed. Right. Just go and shoot and see what happens. No attempt to control or invest in outcomes, as if that ever works anyway. And pretty soon the blanket fell away and I was left with -- just myself.


Comfortably back in the familiar territory of irony and living metaphors, as my pretext became irrelevant and my confidence pre-eminent, I realized in my effort to sidestep the self portrait project, I had managed spontaneously and accidentally to come upon its perfect conclusive subject and challenge. By not trying to become or hide behind anything else, I was left with that most constant and yet elusive of themes, myself, the thing to which all this long arduous process of elimination I have been enduring has finally reduced and refined me. There was of course a little of me in all the subjects I portrayed, in fact, in some cases, more of me than I have ever displayed. But this time it’s all me. And I can tell you, I’m liking what I see. 


Happy Valentine's Day!

12 comments:

  1. I agree...no fucks to give, and I love the point that there's remembering there is a body inhabited and there's light to lay in. Dreamy and pensive, beautiful shots. HVD!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! To you too. Keep that f-box empty.

      Delete
  2. I am all out of give away fucks too. And how I hope the store is never replenished.
    Love this invitation into your world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC,the fucks factory just called and said not only are they out of stock but this particular item has been discontinued, so, no worries! And thank you.

      Delete
  3. Such a perfect way to put it G! And then, it's just nice to reclaim yourself in a way isn't it? Continue to enjoy and explore and just be you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks F! It should be simple, the whole being yourself thing, and yet it seems to be a lesson to be re-learned and re-affirmed always. But it's always worth the effort! Go well.

      Delete
  4. I join the crew that picked up all the fucks you gave away...especially the artistic, flying ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nicely put, Kass! And thank you. I assure you, there will be no going back at this point to retrieve them, so it's good to know I at least won't be accused of littering.

      Delete
  5. Wonderful post....isn't it interesting how when we really become ourselves we become fearless. It's like finally claiming the right to be you....even if that moment comes and goes in the future....it's only yours to claim. Cheering you in your search.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi G - always good to find a point in time and art where one feels comfortable and in a way that part of one's art is complete. The photo shoot reinforces your connection with lens and light. May 2016 be a more serene year and one where you find joy in life and creativity. Go well. B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much B! You and F are a constant source of inspiration to me regarding living life and art as one.

      Delete